RUPANDEHI, April 28: After being accused of discrimination for boycotting the wedding feast organized by a Dalit family of Suddodan Rural Municipality of Rupandehi, 22 non-Dalit guests have apologized to the family and agreed to participate in a joint feast.
On April 18, political and social leaders of the local unit were invited to the wedding of Arati BK. Even though the leaders attended the wedding and also gifted cash to the bride after putting Tika on her forehead, they refused to participate in the feast. A group of 22 non-Dalit guests had boycotted the feast, sparking a huge controversy.
Then the disheartened Dalit family returned the cash gifted by the non-Dalit guests to the bride. Five days ago, Republica published a news report titled 'Non-Dalits attend wedding but skip feast' after which demands poured in to take stern action against the accused for promoting caste-based discrimination.
On Friday, the Judicial Committee of the local unit called the Dalit family and the accused for a discussion. During the interaction, the accused not only apologized to the Dalit family but also assured them of participating in the awareness campaign against the practice of untouchability.
Earlier, a discussion among the chairperson of the rural municipality, Kisun Chandra Chaudhary, vice-chairperson as well as coordinator of the Judicial Committee, Shanta Devi Gyawali, local representatives and Dalit rights activists had concluded that the behavior shown by the non-Dalit guests was discrimination.
Ram Bahadur BK, father of the bride informed Republica that the rural municipality has assured them to organize a joint feast and an interaction program for both Dalits and non-Dalits within a week.
Those who had refused to participate in the feast include Keshav Adhikari, regional member of Nepali Congress (NC), Rupandehi; Rasmaya Thapa, chairperson of local Aama Samuha; Balkrishna Gaire, vice-chairperson of community development committee; and others like Ashish KC, DR Kandel, Gokul Subedi, Krishna Prasad Bhandari, Gita Khanal, Chitra Bahadur KC, and Indira Dotel among others.
The irked family members had returned the Rs 6,350 collected from the 22 non-dalit guests through the ward chief. Even though caste-based discrimination and untouchability is punishable by law, the judicial committee of the rural municipality reconciled the two sides.